Monday, December 08, 2008

Wren things go awry

When my buddy Derek recently opened our front door to leave after a weekend visit, a small brown bird shot into the house, flying right for my wife Kara like she was made of suet.

She saw the look on my face before she saw the bird.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, followed immediately by, “Aaaaaah! Is that a bat? Is that a bat?” as she flung herself off the couch and scuttled across the floor.

The aptly named house wren alighted on the lampshade that had been just over Kara’s head, then quickly made itself at home, conducting an impromptu self-guided tour of every lampshade and curtain rod in the house, mistaking each for a guest bathroom and returning the number of incontinent animals in our house to one. Apparently, housebreaking our puppy Memphis had thrown the universe out of balance. We were due for a correction.

As it turned out, Kara brought this upon us. The bird had built a nest in the wreath on our front door, and it wasn’t even our Christmas wreath yet. Kara buys wreaths like rappers buy Cadillac Escalades.

“Oooh, this one would make a nice summer wreath,” she’ll say, pointing at an overpriced bundle of sticks and berries that will soon be riding home in our backseat.

Derek, Kara and I ran around the house picking up tools that we thought might be helpful for corralling the wren. Kara grabbed a blanket. Derek snagged a broom. After frantically scanning the pantry for a helpful bird-catching implement, I came back with the best thing I could find: an empty Honey Nut Cheerios box.

“Babe, a cereal box. Seriously?” Kara asked.

Unfortunately, I skimmed over the part of the Guy Handbook that explained how to remove flying animals from the house. It must have been right next to the chapter that explained why you’d ever want to change your own motor oil.

The three of us ran around the house, chasing the wren to a scene that should have been accompanied by Benny Hill music. I helped Kara toss the blanket at the bird a few times, but a moving target is really hard to hit with microfleece. In any event, if I’m ever forced to be a gladiator, remind me not to pick that throwable net as a weapon. If the blanket is any indication, I couldn’t incapacitate the broad side of a barn with one of those things.

After several passes, Derek stuck the broom right into the wren’s flight path, and the bird, dazed, flopped to floor. At that moment, Memphis, who had been altitudinally challenged enough not to have been an issue until just then, shot across the room, the thought bubble over her head clearly showing a rawhide chew with flapping wings.

“No, no, no!” we all screamed together as the bird hopped to its feet and ran towards the couch, with Memphis closing quickly behind.

With a head-first slide under the couch, the bird narrowly avoided the shared and shredded fate of every dog toy we’ve ever bought.

Moments later, with Memphis locked howling in the bedroom, Derek and Kara gently rocked the couch back as I crawled under with the cereal box.

“Hey!” I said.

“Did you catch it?” Kara asked.

“No, but did you know that the Honey Nut Cheerios bee is named ‘Buzz’? I don’t think I ever knew that.”

As a team, we were eventually able to coax the bird into the box, perhaps due to the large print that promised lower cholesterol. Out on the deck, the bird hopped out of the box and flew into a nearby tree, where it probably swore off wreaths forever. If only I could get Kara to do the same.

You can smack Mike Todd with your broom at


  1. There are but three things we males are required to do by our spouses...

    Show up for the wedding, earn money to pay for stuff, and of course most importantly, get animals & insects out of the house without killing them.

    There used to be five, but feminism took care of making babies and DIY jobs.

  2. That was fantastic!

    I've lived a similar scenario: I once worked at a movie theater and birds loved to fly in between shows--I never thought of them as Stallone fans, but who am I to judge?

  3. I don't know why people change there own oil either. The worst is putting the huge pan of oil in your back seat and slopping it all over the place as you try to find somewhere to dump it.

    What, no blogroll?

  4. JL -- Ha! Kara didn't get the memo about not killing the things. That bird's lucky it wasn't a moth.

    Chris -- Nice. Must be the same birds I see in the rafters at Home Depot. They catch a Rambo flick then pick up some spackle on the way home.

    JP -- That's right, I wasn't bluffing, mofo! Four weeks without a post and you're outta there. You're back on now. I hope that'll help keep you posting more than annually.

  5. Thanks man for the comment, I appreciate it. The next post will be a good one, and just wait until my new banner header is done. You will see Zoltrog at last!

    Good stuff as always, you're a good writer.

  6. Isaac Perlson12/09/2008 5:21 PM

    My daddy says you can light your farts on fire. Is that true?

  7. Zoltrog -- Your posts are all good ones, man. Can't wait to see Zoltrog in action. Fire that up.

    Issac -- Speaking of firing up, yes, that is absolutely true, but when you grow up, graduate from college and get a real job, the demand for such a talent drops precipitously, like your balls have yet to do. When you're older and out of your diapers, we'll discuss technique. Make sure you talk to Uncle Mikey before you try anything; otherwise, you might fall victim to the dreaded Roasty Toasty.

  8. And if anyone from work or Kara's family is reading this, no, I've never actually lit a fart on fire.

    For everyone else, we're talking flames like on the side of a Harley.

  9. You want Kara to "hop out of a box and onto a nearby tree"?
    Has she been practising?

    Does she KNOW?


  10. JAP -- Ha, yes, that's exactly what I meant. From there, she'd be able to build her own wreaths. I'm glad you understand me.

  11. Whose that new dude following your blog? Sweet Pic!

  12. Perlson -- That is one pimpin' dude. And both the entries on Pimp Master Flex's blog are genius. Very minimalist, but so powerful. Smooth as silk, indeed.

  13. Hey Mike;

    How about adding my new photoblog site...

    cheers :)